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La Boheme - Ghetto Chic At The NBR Opera

La Boheme - Ghetto Chic At The NBR Opera

Images Courtesy of Neil Mckenzie

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NBR NZ Opera Antoinette Halloran as Mimi and Jesus Garcia as Rodolfo


There have been howls of outrage – well one that this reviewer noticed in the Dominion Post letters' page regarding the modernising of Puccini's La Boheme. The updating of the costuming and set of Puccini's opera from the 19th Century Paris to presumably modern day Paris is however runlikely to lead to a large swag of letters for the editor of the Dominion-Post.

On a cold Saturday night the prospect of a couple of young waifs falling in love and one of them passing away due to poor insulation seemed quite plausible.

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Ghetto chic – corduroy still fashionable- Marcin Bronikowski as Marcello, Jesus Garcia as Rodolft, Wade Kernot as Alcindoro


For those of a sensitive nature the NBR Opera production of La Boheme is able to bring moisture to the eyes. Though the less sensitive and culturally ignorant were left asking is that it after the final act?

This question is probably because of the four acts the last one is possibly the least energetic. For my money the latter part of Act One where a chance lost key leads to bohemian love was probably the hi-point of La Boheme on the singing front.

Evidently the chap that plays the hero Rodolfo is something of a star and his George Clooneyesque good looks were noted by those of a feminine persuasion.

The set design and large cast in Act Two is also a real treat for the eyes. The grey apartment blocks of the Latin Quarter in Paris are pretty darn impressive.

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Tiffany Speight as Musetta – a vixen


The corduroy trousers of one of the supporting characters are probably the biggest concern and the granny type dresses of the lead actress. Fortunately the teddy bear corduroy trousers and slightly frumpy frocks are made up for when the vixen of the piece Musetta appears on the stage in a Cruella De Ville outfit.

If one is under 25 then I reckon you should skip the usual Bohemian haunts and take up the NBR' Opera's generous scheme to get young un into opera. It's certainly more fun than going to some allegedly Bohemian bars situated in the middle of Cuba Street.


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